In this post, I’m going to take you step-by-step through getting signed up for Amazon’s affiliate program. It’s all fairly straightforward, and you could probably sum it up in one statement: Just fill out the forms, but I’ll use this post to document my progress anyway. In that way, this post will be especially helpful for anyone who wants to create a blog that’s similar to mine. It will also be a way to field questions.
From what I’ve heard, this is a great way to make a *small* amount of money while promoting products that you would recommend anyway. I wouldn’t recommend buying anything if I didn’t think it came with a great value. Books, considering the relatively cheap price (~$10-$15) and the amount of knowledge and entertainment they provide (~at least 10-15 hours; occasionally a lifetime) fit the bill perfectly, and that’s why I’m going to show any bloggers how to make some money by promoting books.
If you use WordPress, I’ll also show you how to put those ads in your sidebar — and how to change the sidebar based on different pages and posts.
Step 1) Go To Amazon’s Affiliate page
- Click “Join Now.”
- Sign in.
- Fill out the account information.
- Link your URL.
- If you don’t own the domain (if you used wordpress.com to create your blog and your domain looks like “wordpress.myblog.com”), paste that domain, not just “wordpress.com” — should be fairly straightforward but I want to make this guide as clear as possible.
- For the profile section . . .
- Enter a “Preferred Associates Store ID.” I used something simple that I could easily remember. It looks like it assigns you one anyway, so fill out whatever you want.
- For “What are your sites about?” fill it out as succinctly as possible. I said, “Getting rich and giving back.” Hopefully you know what your site’s about.
- For “Which of the following topics best describes your websites?” I put, “Finance/Politics/Government” (which seem like wildly different topics, but I guess there must be a lot of overlap) and “Non Profit / Charitable.”
- For the “type of Amazon product,” I selected, “Books.”
- For “What type are your websites or mobile apps,” I put, “Content or niche website.”
- “How do you drive traffic to your websites?” Social networks, forums, SEO, blogs.
- “How do you usually build links?” Blog editor (WordPress).
- “How many total unique visitors do your websites and apps get per month?” I put from 501-5k. Probably not true, since I’m still in the infant stage, but it will be true one day. Dress for the job you want.
- “What is the primary reason for joining the Amazon Associates Program?” To monetize my site.
- “How did you hear about us?” From the Amazon.com website
As I said: straightforward. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll answer.
Step 2) Enter your Payment and Tax Information
You’re not going to get the opportunity to steal my identity, but if you’re an individual, all you have to at this step is enter your SSN. If you register as an LLC, use the EIN for that LLC.
You then have three options:
- “Pay me by Amazon.com gift card.” Kind of like getting paid in gum. If you buy a lot of stuff on Amazon, I bet this isn’t a bad option.
- “Pay me by direct deposit.” This is the option I chose. It’s very easy to fill out. It took me two minutes tops.
- “Pay me by check.” Another viable option, but outdated in the world of direct deposit.
For tax info, it’s also very straightforward. I can’t take you step-by-step through this for obvious reasons. Rest assured, it’s even easier than the other parts.
Step 3) Put Links on your Site
- Under the “Product Linking” tab, select “Product Link.”
- Enter the name of the product you want to put on your site. In my case, it was The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I’ve had it recommended to me a few times by people I trust and I want to check it out (in the process, I get to learn about affiliates by buying a product I want on my own site: win/win). If I don’t like it, I won’t advertise it in the future.
- You’ll get a link that you can easily incorporate into your posts (like I just did).
Step 4) Create Sidebar Ads
- Click “Build Link.”
- Customize how you want it to appear on your website. I chose “Image Only” because I think it looks less crowded than any other option, and it doesn’t indirectly advertise Amazon.
- Create a “text” widget on your sidebar. Copy and paste the HTML that Amazon writes for you.
That’s it. You’re done.
Step 5) Customize Amazon Ads (Book Recommendations) for Every Post
- This step requires you to download a plugin called Custom Sidebars. True to its name, it allows you to customize the sidebars of every new post and/or page.
- Once you have it installed, go to the WordPress.org dashboard and select “Widgets” under the “Appearance” tab.
- You can then “Create a New Sidebar.” I always keep mine pretty uniform, so if you want to create a new sidebar with a different ad, just copy everything from your “Primary Sidebar” (or whatever you have your site layout configured to) and change the ad.
This post is obviously geared more towards the technologically challenged, who think they can’t start a blog just because they don’t really understand how the internet works. Anyone can start a blog. Getting a profitable blog up and running is simple. Building an audience takes time.